This is one of the most common questions we come across in graphic design – how do I convert a Photoshop PSD document to an Illustrator AI document? Well the answer is much simpler than you might expect and we’re just going to explain the 3 simple steps you need to take in order for your Photoshop document to be converted to Illustrator.
This situation usually occurs when a designer has created something within Photoshop but now needs it in a vector format for print etc such as .ai, .svg or .eps. For this example we’re going to use our company logo and show you how we converted it from a Photoshop document to an Illustrator document.
Step 1: Save in Photoshop
Not to teach you to ‘suck eggs’ here but basically step one is as simple as saving your Photoshop document as you normally would as a .psd file. Simple!
It’s worth noting at this stage that if you don’t want any background on your design and just need the background to be transparent then ensure you don’t have a background colour etc and that the background is transparent (alike the example below where the background is the ‘checkerboard’ effect).
The main thing to note here is that your design MUST be all vector-based layers, by which I mean each element must have been created using the pen, shape or type (text) tool etc.
If your design has been rasterised, flattened, merged or in any way been configured so that if you were to scale up any element it would start to pixelate then this method will not work properly and void what you’re trying to achieve. The method will still ‘technically’ work since you can of course save the document as whatever you like, however if any layers or elements within the design are rasterised in any way then they will not be ‘infinitely scalable’ like a vector-based object and therefor you could find issues if sending a design to print etc.
So for reference you’ll note on the example image below that our logo has been designed using all type tool elements so each layer is a form of text which is technically a vector.
Anyway with that disclaimer out of the way let’s move on!
Step 2: Open Photoshop File in Illustrator
So once your document is saved in Photoshop, go and open Illustrator and the usual method of File > Open and then open the Photoshop document you just saved.
When you have chosen the Photoshop document, a new popup box will appear, please ensure you select the box entitled “Convert Layers to Objects”.
Step 3: Save File in Illustrator
Once the file is open you’ll then see your design appear nicely within Illustrator…phew!
So now it really is a simple case of going to File > Save As… and choosing the format as whichever format you need – .ai, .eps, .svg.
Once you click ‘Save’ you’ll always get a follow up box requiring a list of options, these can of course be changed for your personal preference but usually the preset options work just fine so once you’re happy with your selections just click ‘OK’.
It’s honestly as simple as that – so in essence it’s really just a case of opening your Photoshop document in Illustrator and then saving it as whichever format you need! The key thing really is to remember that all elements/layers need to be vector-based items in Photoshop to ensure you gain the best conversion when moving the design across, otherwise this method won’t work too well, but at least you’ll have the document in the correct format at least if that is the case.